Niagara Gazette

Local News

August 27, 2013

Council candidates have their say at Monday night forum

Niagara Gazette — Niagara Falls City Council candidates had an opportunity to promote their platforms at a community forum held Monday night.

Seven candidates for three council seats up for grabs this fall answered questions from a panel of community members in the Rapids Theatre.

Candidates were asked questions on a variety of topics ranging from investment in downtown to attracting new businesses to the funding of cultural programs.

With all three incumbents — Sam Fruscione, Kristen Grandinetti and Charles Walker — running for reelection as Democrats and challenger Andrew Touma also seeking a Democratic nomination, a primary will be held on Sept. 10 to determine the three candidates to run in the general election on the Democratic line.

They will be joined by challengers Robert Elder, Vincent Sandonato and Russell Vesci in the general election this November with all three securing Republican lines.

Attracting people — middle-class families, businesses, developers, tourists — to the Cataract City was a theme that ran through many of the questions.

Answers revolved around creating things for people to do, controlling taxes and addressing public safety issues.

Fruscione said that council members can help attract businesses and residents by keeping taxes down and making city government efficient.

"We need to hold the line on taxes and make sure that the perception, the cleanliness of the city is visible from all angles throughout the entire city," he said.

Grandinetti said the city needs to keep working with the state to continue development downtown in an effort to attract young, college-educated people seeking an urban lifestyle.

"I think what we need to do is to focus on what we can do to attract young professionals," she said.

Walker said the city should continue to build partnerships with community organizations, colleges and other groups to work toward making the city a more attractive place to live and visit.

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